Best Simple Cabbage Soup | Nutrition Stripped
Eat Well Jan. 9. 2018

The Best Cabbage Soup

Jan. 9. 2018
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

A make-ahead, refreshing, hearty, vegetable-dense soup using cabbage and simple ingredients packed with flavor!

Cabbage soup and I go way back — my mother used to make a variation of this soup during the winter months using chunks of carrots and rich chicken broth served with a dollop of sour cream and dill.

My mother’s recipe deeply inspired me for this cabbage soup! By including extra caramelized onions, more garlic as well as ground cumin and red pepper flakes, I just made a few personal tweaks.

Cabbage Soup

For most of us, cabbage flies under the radar when it comes to its culinary use and health benefits. Cabbage might look like lettuce, but it’s actually a part of the same cruciferous vegetable family as kale, broccoli and cauliflower.

Soups are some of my favorite dishes to make on batch cooking day, especially cabbage soup. I encourage you to do the same! It’s such a great way to have a healthy, home-cooked meal ready to go when you need it.


Firstly, cabbage is a great source of fiber, which is important to eat each day since it keeps our digestive system moving, blood sugars balanced and microbiome healthy.

Cabbage contains antioxidants and polyphenols that help reduce inflammation in the body and protect the body from free radical damage. It’s a particularly great source of the powerful antioxidant vitamin C. This plays a huge part in our immune system, wound healing and collagen production. Vitamin C may even have a role in preventing certain cancers.

Cabbage is also rich in vitamin B6 and folate. These particular nutrients support several of our body’s vital systems with cell growth and development.

Another interesting fact about cabbage is that it contains glucosinolates which can be converted into isothiocyanate (ITC) compounds. ITC compounds have been shown to prevent certain types of cancers including bladder, breast, colon, and prostate cancer.

What Is A Foundational Five Nourish Meal?

The Foundational Five Nourish Meal is any meal that contains all 5 elements within the Foundational Five, non-starchy carbohydrates, starchy carbohydrates, healthy fat, protein, and the Flavor Factor.

By following this simple template it keeps food flexible, fun, and nourishing. Our Foundational Five Nourish Meals can be found as yogurts, oatmeal bowls or breakfast bowls, nourish bowls, salads, soups and stews, stir-frys and more.

Any meal can be made into a Foundational Five Nourish Meal by just knowing the system I teach in our Method Membership and in my free guide about creating healthy eating habits with ease, that you can get right here!

Foundational Five

Learn how you can nourish your body at each meal by creating a Foundational Five Nourish Meal. This is McKel’s simple framework she’s used with thousands of clients in her decade as a Dietitian and now you can use it too!

The Foundational Five supports you in nourishing your physical body so you can learn what to eat, which is the first step in mindful eating. The remainder is knowing how to eat and to experience your food positively.

Eating in this way supports your physical body on a cellular level ensuring you’re consuming the nutrients you need to have a sharp focus, calm digestion, lasting energy, sound sleep, and vibrant long-term health.

Here are the following Foundational Five Elements in this recipe:

1 • Non-starchy Carbohydrate

  • Yellow onion
  • Celery
  • Tomato paste
  • Green cabbage

2 • Starchy Carbohydrate

  • Add quinoa, farro, bean-based pasta or whole wheat pasta

3 • Healthy Fat

  • Add slivered almonds

4 • Protein

  • Add tofu, edamame, shredded chicken, ground chicken or ground turkey

5 • Flavor Factor

  • Minced garlic
  • Sea salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Ground cumin
  • Bay leaves
  • Apple cider vinegar


The Recipe

Serves 6



2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 stalks celery, diced

pinch of sea salt

2 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced

4 cups vegetable or organic chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, adjust to taste

1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper, adjust to taste

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


Step 1

In a medium-large Dutch oven (or a large pot with a lid), heat oil over medium heat, until shimmering.

Step 2

Add diced onion and a large pinch of kosher salt and cook until translucent. About 8 minutes — stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds.

Step 3

Add sliced cabbage, celery and all remaining seasonings and recipe ingredients. Stir to mix well and cover with a lid for 40 minutes on low heat.

Step 4

Cook the cabbage soup until the cabbage is tender, about 40 minutes. Serve in a bowl with fresh parsley, dill, fresh black pepper, ghee, or a drizzle of olive oil.



  1. Effect of polyphenols extracts from Brassica vegetables on erythrocyte membranes (in vitro study). (2012, September 23).
  2. Tilg, H. (2015, November 09). Cruciferous vegetables: prototypic anti-inflammatory food components.
  3. Ambrosone CB, Tang L. Cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer prevention: role of nutrigenetics. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Apr;2(4):298-300. 2009.
  4. Kusznierewicz, B, Bartoszek A., Wolska, L et al. Partial characterization of white cabbages (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. alba) from different regions by glucosinolates, bioactive compounds, total antioxidant activities, and proteins. LWT Food Science and Technology 2008, 41, 1-9. 2008.


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